Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds tweaks directional bangs

If things have sounded a little off in Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds lately, no, your ears haven’t broken. Developers PUBG Corp today confirmed that they have quietly tweaked how the game’s sound works, and apologised for not being clearer about it. They’ve been reworking its simulation of directional sound, trying to make it clearer for us to hear whether shots are coming from above or below, ahead or behind. And directional sound does seem easier to read, handy in a game where that can make all the difference, though I’m not sure if I like how the sound actually sounds. Hmm!

“Some of you have noticed that we made some changes to the way sound works in PUBG’s most recent patch,” the devs said in today’s post. “First things first: We should have explained the change in the patch notes. We messed up here, and we hope you’ll accept our apology.”

You big sillies. They say they’ll try to document changes better in patch notes in future, and yeah, that’d be good.

“The difference is due to some newly implemented functions of the HRTF (Head Related Transfer Function) plugin,” they go on to explain about this specific change.

“Previously, this plug-in only affected sounds related to movement, explosions, and empty cartridges—not opponents’ gunshots. You could generally tell whether shots were being fired from your left or right sides, but things were more problematic when trying to differentiate between sounds directly in front of or behind your character. There was also no way to tell whether shots were coming from above or below. Our new implementation of the HRTF plugin fixes both of these issues.”

They illustrate the difference with a selection of video clips, two of which I’ll embed here. Headphones on, gang.

Old bangs:

New bangs:

Do check out the post for more examples from other angles and heights.

The devs do note that they have “heard some early feedback that some sounds feel a little ‘weird’ or even ‘garbled'” and plan to make more changes while keeping an eye on feedback. They also “intend to add some options that’ll let you customise your sound settings on a more granular level.”

I dig the change functionally–I do hear a clear difference in directions–but I’m not 100% sold on it aesthetically. Part of that is certainly just unfamiliarity, mind. And I suppose I can also shout my own gun noises while firing if I really want. I’m sure the lads on Discord will find it abso hilario.

13 Comments

  1. Umama says:

    With the exception of Overwatch (which has Dolby Atmos built in and has awesome directional sound already), I usually just turn on Windows Sonic when I play with headphones as it seems to do a decent job with directional sound. I’ve played Plunkbat that way before and it did the trick for me – I could hear the bullet inevitably sniping me in the head after being forced out of my bush by the shrinking zone.

  2. Janichsan says:

    Wait… why doesn’t this article about Plunkbat not even once mention the title „Plunkbat“? How should we ever know what game this is about?

  3. hungrycookpot says:

    I’ve also noticed in the past couple weeks that I’m pretty sure footstep sounds are a little wonky too, one person’s footsteps can sometimes have a slight delay, or possibly a little bit of echo, there’ve been a couple times recently when I completely mistook my partner’s footsteps for a 3rd person on a slightly different angle.

  4. Plunkbat Oranges says:

    Plunksounds in the plunkgrounds are plunkfound to be plunkbound?

  5. Turkey says:

    What if you end up in the centre of a gang of bangs and you don’t know where the bangs are coming from?

  6. Catweasel says:

    It could use some adjustment, sometimes sounds seem to come from the exact opposite direction they’re actually coming from and it’s throwing me off. Overall things DO seem better though, I could honestly barely hear footsteps before, let alone where they’re coming from, and I have an easier time now.

  7. Viral Frog says:

    Anyone else concerned that Alice may have been kidnapped and replaced with an article writing AI? Not a single mention of Plunkbat at all in the article…

  8. Bobtree says:

    PUBG’s positional audio on my 5.1 surround setup has always been lousy. This should help, but they really need to work on the surround mix. Stereo is more playable just because I can hear nearby footsteps. I did love the doppler shift they added to the plane that drops crates.

  9. Ejia says:

    Plunkbat made secret bangs!

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